Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Gorbachev: It Was Worse Than This, and We Fixed It

Gorbachev: It Was Worse Than This, and We Fixed It

By (David Swanson)

On Friday in Moscow I and a group from the United States met with former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. He said the current relationship between Washington and Moscow alarmed him. But, he said, it is possible to rebuild trust. “We had a situation that was worse, but we were able to rebuild trust. And people-to-people contacts helped to rebuild trust.”

When Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan first met, presidents of the two countries had not met for six years. Members of Reagan’s cabinet opposed the meeting. Gorbachev came out of the meeting saying of Reagan “He’s not a hawk, he’s a dinosaur.” Reagan came out denouncing Gorbachev as “a die-hard communist.”

But they kept meeting. Eventually and inevitably Reagan asked what the Soviets would do if the U.S. were attacked by a meteor or aliens. Both men said their countries would help each other. However, Reagan was a fan of Star Wars, both the weapons boondoggle and the movie — which he may have kept distinct from each other in his mind. Gorbachev and Reagan accomplished a great deal of disarmament, not to mention Gorbachev’s accomplishing the nonviolent dissolution of an empire. But they could not get rid of all the nuclear weapons, and they could not take other serious steps in that direction, because Reagan was not willing, and the U.S. government was not willing.

Just as the climate of the culture of the day, as created by activists, journalists, citizen diplomats, and hundreds of other forces, may have mattered more to the disarmament efforts’ successes than the precise words or personalities in the negotiating room, the established war interests in Washington may have determined the failures more than anything else.

“When the Soviet Union broke up,” Gorbachev said on Friday, “many in the West were rubbing their hands together. That was immoral. Our country was in a severe crisis, and it was treated as an enemy.”

On Friday, Gorbachev faulted the same forces on both sides. “We both have the military industrial complex,” he said. “They want war, but we want peace.” He then quoted U.S. President John F. Kennedy saying that the peace we need is not a “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.” Gorbachev recounted telling Reagan the very same thing that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is reported as having said this week: “the era of a master-pupil relationship is long over.” Russians want peace, but they want peace among equals, not peace under somebody’s boot heel.

Gorbachev tried for peace, and had the United States fully reciprocated, it is conceivable that today weapons of war would be banned from the earth. For that effort, Gorbachev is not honored in his home country as much as around the world. And the U.S. refusal to accept peace and friendship is recognized and regretted least in the United States — greatly to our shame.

--

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Scoop HiveMind Project: Universal Basic Income - Are We Up For It?

This is an opportunity for you as one of the 4 million potential funders and recipients of a Universal Basic Income to collectively consider the issue:
1. Is UBI is a desirable policy for New Zealand; and
2. How should a UBI system work in practice. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: National Announces Plan To Hit Youth With Big Mallets

The National party has announced its youth justice policy, which includes a controversial plan for recidivist serious youth offenders to be hit over the head with a comically large rubber mallet. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: This ->

It's been brought to my attention that Labour's new campaign slogan is "Let's do this". A collective call to action. A mission. I myself was halfway out of the couch before I realised I wasn't sure what it was I was supposed to do. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Hivemind Report: What New Zealanders Think About Affordable Housing

Ordinary citizens have had very few venues where they can debate and discuss as to what they believe has led to the crisis in affordable housing and how we might begin to address this. The HiveMind on affordable housing was about redressing the balance. More>>

ALSO:

New Hivemind Exploration: Opening The Election - Freshwater Quality

This is an opportunity for you as one of the 4 million guardians of our common water resources to help us find mutually agreeable solutions to the critical task of collectively managing these resources for health and sustainability. More>>

ALSO: